Written by Mrs. Deborah Balosibina, a Children Evangelism Minister in Abuja, Nigeria.
The Christian home is the target of the enemy. So you must be vigilant, watchful and prayerful. Parenting is about raising successful children. Work on your marriage, love your spouse, and let the children see and know it; make it practical. Don’t ever think of divorce, but always show love to your spouse.
Steps to Consider in Raising Godly Children
- Family Altar: Pray together, encourage and help every child to have a personal relationship with the Lord. Help them to have spiritual goals. If they are rooted spiritually, they will do well in life. Help them to desire to hear God’s Word.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ – Romans 10:17
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, and who correctly handles the word of truth – 2Timothy 2:15
- Memorize Scriptures: I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you – Psalms 119:11
- Meditate on the Word of God: Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful – Joshua 1:8
- Accept your children and see them as being special: Know their strength and weaknesses, and appreciate them each time they do things well. Appreciate them with things they cherish. Set quality time for them, listen to what they are saying, and meet them at their point of needs.
- Love them equally and unconditionally: It can be tempting for parents to want to love one child more than the other. It can cause a big problem. Remember Jacob and Esau (Genesis 27:5-6). Every child is important, no child can bring the joy another brings. So, value them and see them as assets.
- Do not compare your child to another: Often parents are “tempted” to compare their children with others, e.g. you are too dull, can’t you see “so and so”, children don’t like it.
This is what will happen when you compare children:
- It may lead to the child being inferior to others
- It may increase hatred or loss of affection with others
- Comparison makes a child disapprove of you, and helps widen the gap between you instead of bridging it
- Praise more; criticize less: When you praise a child, he builds self-confidence, but when you criticize a child, he learns self-condemnation. Praise more for getting good grades, cooking well, cleaning or tidying up the house. When you praise a child, he or she learns to do things better, and learns self-confidence. So, praise more, and criticize less.
- Give room for constructive mistakes: They are bound to make mistakes, but correct them in such mistake, e.g. young teens learning to cook; give room for mistakes such as burnt food or salty food. Be wise and ask God to help you know how to correct them in love.
- Discipline lovingly: Both parents must be involved and join hands to discipline children. If the mother supports the child each time he offends or does something wrong, the mother is helping the child to think that the other parent hate him or her. In discipline, you must learn first to sell yourself to your children, and then sell the concept of God. In our generation, there is a lot of breakdown in law and order. In discipline, the first important thing is respect.
- Don’t use negative words: There is power in words, e.g. idiot, stupid, etc. They may eventually have negative effect on them. Use pleasant words like “Thank you”, “please”, “I’m sorry”, etc.
- Know and relate with your child’s friends: You can’t stop them from having friends; all you need is to get to know them.
- Birthdays: One of the days the children treasure so much is their birthdays. Also, do something special no matter how small, such as a gift; you can plan to celebrate within the family. Do something to make the day special for the child.
- Be a leader and not a ruler: Use influence and don’t force them. Never force anything on them, rather, motivate them to accept it.
Tips for Teenagers
- Be involved in their world
- Know some of the things they do and love
- Don’t allow them to view or think you are outside their world
- Watch the kind of programs they watch and ask questions
- Teach them respect and honesty
- Teach them to be excellent in everything they do
- Encourage and support their interest, e.g. music, arts, writing, give them every support they need.
Tips for Youths
- You cannot change them, but can partner with God on their behalf; you need to ask God for clarity and discernment for them especially in the area of career, marriage choice etc. for God’s guidance. Proverbs 3:5.
- Only God can change anything about them through prayers.
- Help them to develop strong heart and faith for God.
- Encourage them to always live to please God through the help of the Holy Spirit by reading His word daily.
- Ask God for Godly wisdom, discernment and revelation.
Tips to Help Parents
For their development of self-esteem, create the following environment:
- They must be accepted
- They must be admired
- They must be accommodated
- They must be allowed to feel wanted
- They must be allowed to feel confident
- They must be properly protected
- They must be genuinely loved
- They must be respected
- They are special and valuable
Mother Messages (Words of affirmation from mothers)
- I love you
- I will take care of you by God’s grace
- You can trust me
- You are special to me
- You don’t have to be afraid of me
- I know you are meant for the top
- Call them pet names
Father Messages (Words of affirmation from fathers)
- I love you
- I have confidence in you
- I am sure you can do it
- If you fall down, I’ll pick you up
- You are special to me
- I will always be there for you
In conclusion, raising children is hard work, labour, and prayer; parents must completely depend on God for help, wisdom and understanding because no two children are the same. You must believe God for the salvation of your children at a very early age and with God’s spirit in the life of that child, God’s Word will transform, change and make the child a channel of blessing. He or she will learn to trust God and depend on Him for help.
Also read, Biblical Tips for Raising Godly Children (1)